The Cheatsheet to Live Video

February 22, 2017

Written by NewsWhip

We analyzed features across top Live video platforms in this cheatsheet. Discover which ones are perfect for engaging your audience. 

Live video engagement is only continuing to grow; just look at the numbers. We used NewsWhip Analytics to compare the engagements on Facebook Live video between September 2016 and January 2017.

Facebook Live engagement growth

We’ve seen the format grow from over 32,800 Live videos posted in our news category in September 2016, to nearly 52,900 in January 2017. Engagement has followed suit, with total likes, shares, comments, and reactions growing with no end in sight as the months go on. If there’s a saturation bubble for live-streams, it hasn’t burst yet.

Live video continues to be popular for other platforms too – Instagram Stories, Twitter Periscope, YouTube Live, and others. So how do you know how to experiment for each platform? We put together this cheatsheet to help.

Most of these options seem to be intended for mobile users. No matter where you are – whether behind a desk or on the go, you can share your experiences with your followers and the world.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live has become a formidable presence on the channel, giving long-form video back the engagement numbers that short and snappy videos had long been dominating. More features have been incorporated into Live, including a 360 option to be rolled out to everyone this year.

What can be expected on Facebook Live? 

Facebook Live

Your followers get notified when you start live-streaming, and if your video settings are public, your video gets added to the Facebook Live video map. That said, you can customize your privacy and audience settings before going live. Like Snapchat, there are filters and masks to add to the image, you can draw on the video image, and flip your camera horizontally or vertically.

Live video is given prominence in the news feed. Comments and reactions appear on the bottom of the screen, so you can respond in real-time. You can see how many viewers there are at the top of the screen.
Live posts can also be scheduled up to a week in advance, to build buzz. A native post will allow followers to like, share, and comment to the upcoming Live video.

There is a time limit of four hours. After the broadcast, you can save or delete your Live video like any other video post. 

What works on Facebook Live? Check out our latest roundup on Facebook videos to see what’s getting shared the most. 

Instagram Live Stories

Again, you want to pick up your cellphone for Instagram Live stories. There are notifications for your followers, and the Live video is emphasized on top of their news feed, prominently before all the other Stories from users they follow. 

There’s one caveat compared to the others, once the broadcast is over, it’s gone for good. This leads to less polished, more genuine broadcasts. 

You can choose whether to enable comments, and the live streams can last for up to 60 minutes. 

Kate upton Instagram story

As in Kate Upton’s Live story above, you can see how many people are viewing, their comments and likes, as the stream goes on.

What are Instagram Live Stories good for? They create a more intimate, exclusive feel on the channel.

Twitter Periscope

Twitter has integrated Periscope more and more into its flow, and you can livestream from Periscope or Twitter’s app now.

You can share the broadcast on Twitter before it goes live, and the livestream actually lives on a tweet. Like the other platforms, followers get notified when you start a stream. 

Periscope Twitter

Like on Instagram Stories, viewers can comment and send hearts. You can see when viewers share the broadcast on Twitter, join the broadcast, or invite followers.

If there are any abusive viewers, the broadcaster can block the user from the live video. There’s also Live 360 video, but only select Twitter partners have been allowed to try out the feature.

Periscope has released a few features recently in a way to bolster community between creators and viewers. Broadcasters can now identify their ten most engaged ‘Superfans’ for further insights. Video creators can also create groups, to tailor their audience just so. 

With so many reporters using Twitter, the live-streaming option makes it an appealing option for citizen journalism and breaking news. If you add a location to your live-video tweet, the video will be discoverable on Periscope’s Global Map. At the end of the stream, the video continues to live on the tweet, and can be saved to the user’s mobile camera roll.

YouTube Live

Like Facebook Live, the easiest way to go is through the mobile app. However, mobile live streaming is currently available to only those with over 10,000 subscribers.

Users can decide whether to go public or have it as an unlisted video. The video can be broadcast in vertical or horizontal mode and have filters added to the video. Like the others, followers get notified when you start live-streaming.

Youtube Live video

Above are two very different examples of Facebook Live, one from the White House US Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and one of a cat foster home.

We can see how many people are watching, when the video started streaming, and how many people have liked or disliked the video. There are options to share the stream and subscribe to the channel. Broadcasters can also choose to enable or disable comments.

NASA Youtube

Outside of the mobile app, the comments populate in a chat box on the right. 

Clearly, there’s no limit on how creative these streams can be. In the age of cord-cutters, even publishers like CNN and Fox News have YouTube Live streams.

Of course, these aren’t the only live-streaming options out there. There are more niche platforms, like Twitch for gamers, or YouNow, which does well with Generation Z. As always, consider your audience and what they’ll react to best and where.

For ideas on what’s engaging with audiences right now, check out NewsWhip Spike to discover the top videos across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and more.

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